Strategy. A genre close to my heart for many reasons. Even though it awakens something dark, pragmatic and ruthless in me, I still enjoy it. All for the simple reason: there’s not a thing in this world that can compare to a feeling of a well-thought-out and executed plan, going flawlessly and fulfilling its goal entirely. Cathartic.
This is what strategy games are all about. Gathering information, planning, fortifying your position and preparing a move against your opponents while they do the very same thing. It’s all about outwitting and outmaneuvering. It’s about aiming for a long-term goal and using every single tool at your disposal. It’s about choosing your battleground with every advantage while denying other players the same conveniences.
And in today’s list, we will be looking for those exact qualities in our strategy games while trying to find something for everyone. Without further ado…
Real-Time Strategy games require constant control, and attention, not giving you a lot of time for decision-making. Constant action time!
Total War Games
Say hello to the leading digital publisher of strategy games. Creative Assembly’s Total War series is what I would call the epitome of Grand Strategy titles.
All because each of their games gives you every tool you would ever need to conquer the world. Diplomacy, for a non-violent approach; agents that skulk around to spy, kill and sabotage according to your orders; city building for your economy, and, of course, your armies.
As a mix of turn-based and real-time strategy game, the series shows exactly the difference between the tactical map and strategic layer.
In one, you outmaneuver the enemy’s army in real-time battles. On the other hand, losing that battle might still be a win because you decimated the enemy so thoroughly that he cannot even think about sieging your settlements.
And you have so much to choose from.
Based on the tabletop game, Total War: Warhammer trilogy and its shift to a fantasy setting give you an amazing campaign layer with its Mortal Empires. Fight against lizardmen, orcs, elves, dwarves, and daemons. Use monsters, arcane war machines and magic to bring the very skies down. Finish story quests, gather artifacts and titles from defeating legendary heroes. Conquer the world with Faith, Steel, and Gunpowder!
Total War: Three Kingdoms is set in China, during its most tumultuous time, where you can use an intricate diplomacy system to create trusted partners or vengeful enemies. Enemies that you can then duel on the battlefield.
There’s Total War: Rome that allows fighting as or against the Eternal City during its golden age, or Attila, which does exactly the same, but in a time of Roman decline.
Total War: Shogun shifts perspective into Japan, during its Sengoku period, with samurai aplenty. There are also outside interlopers that give access to gunpowder with one hand while the other is trying to force Christianity on you.
Not your taste? How about XVIII and XIX warfare in the Empire Total War, with gigantic ships of the line and massive lines of musket infantry?
Prefer the medieval period? Total War series has a game titled literally like that. In Medieval, you can rule honorably, or become the world's terror, while recruiting knightly orders and pushing back and forth against the Pope.
Worth noting is that no matter which epoch you choose, this series has some of the best strategy games ever for you. They are great in scope, amazing in the number of tools at your disposal, and every single one of them has insane replayability, thanks to many, many playable factions to choose from.
If you feel like you need to play today, our site offers many Total War CD keys to browse and buy at discount prices.
Age of Empires II
Welcome to 4D chess, the retro-gaming edition. At first glance, Age of Empires II seems to be a classic Real-Time Strategy game, with regular maps, unit production, resource gathering, and good old fighting.
And that is completely true. The game is a simple progression through the “Ages,” which are just technology tiers. It is straightforward; units are precisely what you’d expect. So why is it so great that people still call it one of the best RTS games?
Because of its simplicity. Lately I’ve found out that the best and most long-lived games are not the flashiest ones. Those usually have the tightest, most complete, and well-made core mechanics, helped by a heap of balanced gameplay, with occasional BS unit.
Thanks to that, AoE II allows some outstanding mind games and strategies. You can trick your opponent into making defensive units against your early attack while you advance an Age in the background. Target their economy and forget about micromanaging units as you crash wave after wave of soldiers against their crumbling army. Micromanaging is more your style? Grab all the upgrades and command your soldiers like it’s Starcraft II finals.
Whatever strategy you can think about, there’s a huge chance you can make it viable. And its mechanics were the big inspiration for Starcraft, so how about that?
If you feel like getting into the roots of RTS PC gaming, I might have a suggestion for you. Our site, RoyalCDKeys, has an offer for Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition CD key. Be sure to check it out.
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2
There aren’t many games that let you control a fleet, much less focus solely on such an aspect. Even so, few let you have sheer freedom with loadouts of each and every ship as Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. And it’s precisely for those reasons it’s on the list.
So let’s start with the fleets because there are many races to choose from, and they are as diverse visually as mechanically. From fast, nimble, and fragile Eldar Corsairs to straightforward Imperial Fleet, brutal Ork Pirates, and everything in-between. What might work against one won’t work against others, so you have to plan your engagements ahead of time.
Will you use an excessive amount of fighters as a screen for torpedo strike? Maybe a flank by escort ships to scramble enemy sensors? Either that or just use “Full Speed Ahead” with the battleship, lodge yourself between enemy lines, and fire both broadsides at the same time.
And then you can RAM. This strategy game allows you to slam into other ships, and it’s a viable tactic, especially if your ship is in its death throes. “Pilot, give me ramming speed and overload the reactor. We’re taking them with us.” Orks even specialize in such refined maneuvers.
That’s without specializing out elements of your fleet. Give every cruiser a Nova Cannon and nuke everything that moves. Fill out every slot with fighters and bombers to turn your ships into aircraft carriers. Or put every point into boarding actions and set fires to enemy ships in a much more personal way.
The campaign plays out like a 4X game, where you explore, expand, exploit and, most importantly in the 40k universe, exterminate. This is where strategy is strong, the story even stronger, and the voice acting amazing. In each battle, you have to decide if your ship is worth saving via retreat or whether it is crucial to win right here and lose some fleet elements.
It’s a big deal because your armada gains experience with each battle, so losing that veteran crew will sting. Especially if it was one of the bigger cruisers that are hard to replace and require advanced space stations in controlled regions, of which you might not have many.
All in all, it’s a visually stunning strategy game that requires a thought-out plan and quick thinking. Good choice if you crave some fleet action. Definitely a must if you’re a fan of Warhammer 40k as a whole.
If you want to see for yourself the intricacy and insanity of the ships in the far future, our shop offers a Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 CD key. If you want to experience the story in its full, I recommend starting with the first title. And yes, our site offers Battlefleet Gothic: Armada CD key, so we got you covered.
Turn-Based Strategy Games
Titles with a little bit more breathing time. Like chess, players alternate between making movements, allowing for much more control, with less interference from the opponent. Until it’s their turn, that is.
Those of you more in the know-how of Firaxis games might be wondering “wait, this is a tactics game, not a strategy game? The heck?” and I applaud your knowledge. Yes, the sequel to the acclaimed XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a tactical fight at heart, but let's be real. You play for the campaign, and multi is just a bonus.
Race Against Time
The campaign is strategy pure and simple. You fight against time with limited resources and soldiers. You need to distribute your attention and income into adequate development and missions. Will you upgrade your weapons to even the fighting field? Or do you do one of the missions to halt the alien research that spells the end of the game?
Time spent on stopping the alien research could be spent on expanding the resistance or gathering research. Or maybe try and take that challenging stronghold to get a bit of both. The time is always ticking, so better be decisive.
Combat Is as Good as Ever
As for the combat itself? Use cover, maneuvers, and spicy flanking to win against larger and better-equipped foes. Have fun with the new ambush mechanic that allows veterans of the XCOM series a well-deserved revenge. And yet… the tactical map still has strategy elements.
Do you use grenades to wipe out that bunched-up groups of very dangerous soldiers… and lose all their researchable stuff? Or do you fight harder and forget any and all ordnance to capture enemy equipment and personnel?
Whatever you approach, better think it through, Commander.
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The popularity of Enemy Unknown and XCOM as a series spawned many titles that mimic, or straight-up copy, Firaxis’ popular title, and its mechanics. I don’t have anything against Gears Tactics, but it doesn’t bring anything really innovative into the template.
That’s why Phoenix Point positively surprised me. While it borrows elements from the famous alien-stomping simulator, it has its own spin on the genre and rolls with it, standing tall and proud.
It’s the End of the World, and We Still Have Political Parties
Now there are four survivor factions of divergent philosophies on how to… well, survive. You’ve got fanatics of human purity, those who embrace mutations from virus, technocrats, and independent havens who just want to live.
And you will have to juggle your relations with all of them if you want their shiny gadgets, guns, and tech. Did I forget to add that you will have to occasionally side with them against one another? Yeah, these people hate each other’s guts, and it shows because they constantly interact with everything on the map, and it’s not always pretty.
Besides them, you get Pandorans.
Fighting Mutated Crustaceans
Once you get into combat, this is where things start to get interesting. Yeah, UI can and will remind you of XCOM 2, but that’s where similarities end. This game has a V.A.T.S.-like limb targeting system from Fallout, and it’s imperative to learn it. This is why this game reminds me more of chess than a cover-running-and-gunning sim.
See, there are a lot of enemies, and you won’t always be able to kill them all efficiently. It doesn’t help that, sometimes, these bastards mutate on the spot.
So what can you do? You can plan. You can decide to shoot the legs of some scary melee monster to slow them down. Likewise, you could aim for the head of the mind-controller so that they won’t be able to focus. Or you can blast weapons out of anthropomorphic enemies.
The only point of entry is loaded with bad guys? Phoenix Point has a robust destruction system, and you can use the above targeting mechanic to blast a new door open.
It’s hard to convey how much this game feels like you’re playing chess on the battlefield. The best part? Enemies get wise to your tactics, and in the case of Pandorans, they mutate to counter them. It’s hard to spot, but if you prefer long-range engagements, you might notice that the crabs are getting faster and sneakier. Close-range combat? Suddenly, a lot of them get armor plates.
You Better Plan Ahead
From tactical map to Geoscape, curveballs are constantly coming your way, with the final decision in your hands. Which enemies to engage, and how exactly do that? How many missions you can get between rests before your soldiers collapse?
Definitely a title that will keep you engaged at all times. If you want to engage in it right now, I might have a way for you to do so. Right here is the link to our site, where you can get yourself Phoenix Point - Year One Edition CD key. Good value if you’re looking to get yourself the DLCs, and it’s at a discount price.
Heroes of Might and Magic III
You didn’t think I would make a list of “best strategy games” and not include the one, the only, the legendary Heroes III, huh?
Why is it treated as one of the best turn-based strategy games? Let’s dive in, shall we?
Choose starting city, choose starting hero from that city, off to conquest you go. Your hero explores the map with his turn-limited movement, gathers resources, fights with enemies, and gets more experience. Your city expands with said resources, and you build structures for units, spells, and everything else.
Each turn counts as one day of the week. And each Monday, everybody’s cities renew their available troops. This makes Heroes the only game series where Monday is the best day.
So you got your stacks of soldiers and monsters, find an enemy hero and start a fight with them. You’ll quickly discover that you’ve also got turn-based tactical battles, with order of stack and hero activation depending on their initiative. You can defend, move, attack or use abilities with units or cast spells with your heroes.
So How Does All of That Work?
Oh, you want a more elaborate answer? Thanks to all those simple mechanics, and a wide range of ways to use them, you have an unfathomable amount of choice in your approach to any given problem.
You can either have one, all-powerful hero bedecked in the best artifacts and with your whole army, or several small ones to control a wider area. You can specialize in magic and obliterate your enemies with fire and mud, or just take all the skills that make your stacks of units better and have fun with that.
All strategies are viable. All have merits and faults. One hero can be unstoppable, but many heroes cover more ground. Magic users can be countered with artifacts, skills, or plain lack of mana. Everything works; everything can be countered. It’s one of the best strategy games because it constantly has new strategies discovered.
Definitely a comfy title to play co-op with your friends during a lazy evening or to go all out and participate in some serious PvP action.
If you want to get it for yourself, here’s a link to our site's Heroes of Might and Magic 3 - Complete Edition CD key at a low price. Avoid HD Remaster, as it contains neither of the expansions and what it did, the lively community did ages ago with their mods and tools.
Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate. Tale as old as humankind itself. To find a new place, settle there, use the local resources and convince the locals to go somewhere else. Now in strategy form!
Endless Space 2
Made by AMPLITUDE Studios, creators of Endless Legends. Their sequel to Endless Space is as glorious a strategy as it is a spectacular sight.
And glorious is no exaggeration. While choosing your race influences gameplay superficially in other such games, here it may as well be playing a completely different theme. From warlike Cravers that behave like space locusts to the peaceful, nature-loving Unfallen, who spread interplanetary roots to colonize.
Each faction is unique, but while those change the gameplay significantly, you still have diverse options for galactic conquest. While creating enormous armadas to dominate is viable, fighting can bog down, letting some other faction reach scientific victory.
So what do you do? Again, you have tools to create plans with or around. Pay off pirates to attack those you can’t risk engaging directly. Spread your culture, creating unrest among other cultures. Quickly overcome defenses, pillage, and then hide. Buyout systems, or create planet-killer weaponry and get rid of the problem once and for all.
It might sound like strife is the only way forward, but that’s because I’m a big fan of BIG ships. I’ve seen players win through colonization and the industrial might of their empire. I’ve seen peaceful races used in such aggressive methods I would never think possible. If you’re a fan of strategy, I can’t recommend Endless Space 2 enough, especially since it’s in SPACE.
Big fan of strategy genre in sci-fi settings here. If you also love such titles, I’ll be happy to share a link to our site, where you can get your own Endless Space 2 CD key at a discount price.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
This series is another 4X series with the tools laid bare before you to use however you please. What the sixth title of the Civilization saga brings is just… more. Not just more leaders from human history, although that is also nice.
Hidden under picturesque visuals is the breadth of choices that are, at times, mind-boggling. You have your regular diplomacy and trade, but this one brings along such gems as religion or archeology. This is ironic, considering you dig up “nomadic and ancient” story of your people that you, the player, already know.
And again, the strategy element comes from how you use those tools. What I love the Civilization series for is that, most often, the military victory is the most boring. You build armies, and you send armies. That’s it.
Meanwhile, other players can build wonders in their cities to make them into eternal jewels of cultural and spiritual advancement. Someone will choose Cleopatra to drown their land in income and food for an unparalleled economical boom. There’s always that guy trying to create the League of Nations equivalent and become a world leader. Win, in other words.
You also can just ignore this whole “world ruler” competition and send your colony ship to fly among the stars.
That or be neighbor to Gandhi and get nuked for your troubles.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is fun and engaging no matter what plans you will spin because there’ll always be someone to throw a wrench into the cogs of your workings, forcing you to rethink your movements.
If you want to create your legacy through any means you can think of, I’ve got something for you. Here is a link to the Sid Meier's Civilization VI - Platinum Edition CD key at our shop, with a discount price.
Games that are not exactly RTS, turn-based or 4X.
Offworld Trading Company
When most people look at the Red Planet, they think of hope, adventure, and of future for humanity. When you’re through with this game, all you’ll think of when looking at Mars will be MONEE. Have you ever wanted a strategy without all that violence, blood, guts, and huge armies? This is one such game.
Take a moment to imagine any given Starcraft match. Get that map, units, and buildings really drilled into your skull. Think of the ruthless nature of fights and how brutal and merciless the players can be to get a few points up in the multiplayer ladder.
Now remove all the weapons, hand out bidding cards, corporate forms, and tablets with constant updates on players’ debt, and value of APads other future brands. Congratulations, you have Offworld Trading Company.
No Honor Among Thieves Businessmen
I was astonished by the amount of cutthroat strategy and backstabbing this game allows. What looks like a fun little city builder at first, in reality is a simulation of economy, where players mercilessly compete to buy each other out. There’s no honor, no care packets for workers, or a smidgen of concern about people. The only thing that matters is hard, sheer profit.
You start by scanning an area around the neutral colony. That colony hub will serve as a dumping ground for some basic resources so that players can always have an opportunity for some income. As the colony grows, so do its demands, and so should the player bases.
You Get to Play Dirty From the Very Start
Placing your base is the first thing you do and the first opportunity to be a complete scumbag, which is completely intended. If you play your cards right, you can lock others out of a key resource, like water, and have a monopoly for something that everyone will need. Have fun being the target of every black market operation!
And the whole game is like that. You bid for laboratories to have better tech, other players bait your bids to be higher. You win after a hard fight, but you’re in debt. What’s that? Your shares are cheap as chips because of debt? Congratulations, you are halfway brought out and on your way to becoming a subsidiary of another player, IE: lose the game.
Offworld Trading Company is definitely an amazing title for those who love capitalism and something the strategy genre could use more of.
Ahhh… Anno series. Let me tell you something. Anno series as a whole is great. It’s a soothing experience that will give you peace of mind while at the same time not letting you just turn it off. And Anno 1404 is the epitome of that statement.
Yes, there are other games in the series, but this one is closest to me, so bias goes strong.
It looks like it’s a simple city-builder game, and that’s precisely what it is. You choose a spot for your marketplace. Create some resource gatherers, some housing, some roads, and just chill, spectating the little dance of expanding city.
You plan your next district, choose your first trading route, get that spice you can’t produce yourself… everything goes smoothly.
And Then Your City Expands Further
A few hours later, you furiously try to locate a glassmaker, or glass trader, or glass anything. That Nun player just got their first nobles and is choking the hell out of your sprawling trade empire, sending pirates and ships while you’re struggling to get clothes for your rioting peasants. All that while having no resources to upgrade crucial buildings andholyhellihavenoiron. Yup. Soothing experience until you get to the late game, where it’s a trade route spaghetti and resource management mayhem.
So many games have a flat gameplay curve, where even though you’re expanding, it still feels stale. In Anno 1404, the bigger your cities, the more complex and labyrinthine those supply trains become, and you’ve got more and more planning ahead of you.
Even then, it’s not stressful. You can pause at any moment to let yourself think. Spaghetti trade routes are just another challenge, and writing them anew is oddly relaxing. Figuring out how to make a perfect supply train for your cities is just satisfying.
If it sounds like your kind of fun, definitely try it out.
Crusader Kings 3
Ah, the latest child of Paradox Interactive.
Somewhat of an oddity in this list, compared to previous games here, Crusader Kings 3 changes the perspective a little. While we associate our strategy titles with a godlike view across the map and control of whole armies and production, this little gem only lets us control… precisely one character. Multiple, if you know what you are doing.
In Crusader Kings 3, you start by choosing one of historical rulers, from emperors to dukes. Your goal? Try to expand your realm and further your bloodline. Tools at your disposal? Frankly… everything you can think of, and the kitchen sink.
It’s like a strategy-RPG combo, where you build up your stats as you grow older and learn how better to manipulate, coerce, bribe, murder, seduce, or straight up conquer your way to the top of the labyrinthine medieval society.
Chaos Is a Ladder
No method should be beyond you because your enemies, within and without, will try their best to make your life a nightmare. From calling crusades on your territories or telling the pope you’re a bad person to poisoning your children and wife and convincing your court to betray you. It’s all free game!
So go ahead! Join heretics to learn dark powers, embrace the Scandinavian culture and start raiding the coastline. In Crusader Kings, the only things that matter are you and your descendants!
Create your dynasty with murder, incest, and blackjack. Scheme your way from a lowly count to an emperor. If you want to do it right now, you can grab your own Crusader Kings III CD key at our site.
A little niche, or oldies-but-goldies strategy games. Because if I fully covered every title that I wanted, this article would turn into a book.
Command & Conquer Remastered Collection
Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is two games, to be precise. You have the first Command & Conquer and Red Alert, both recreated in loving detail.
Petroglyph Games and Lemon Sky Studios worked hard not only to remaster the soundtrack and sprites in 4k but also upscale movie cutscenes while leaving the gameplay exactly the way it was, with slight quality-of-life changes to UI.
It is a nostalgia bullet that will strike true to everyone who remembers the original game.
Halo Wars is worth mentioning for the simple reason: it’s one of the very few strategy games, made with Xbox Game Studios in mind. While the PC port is considered lackluster by many, the console version stands strong on its own. Cinematic cutscenes, co-op mode for campaign and canonical Halo storyline helps a lot.
If you ever want to play a console RTS, and you’re a fan of this particular universe, Halo Wars is something to keep in mind.
The best strategy games are those that are not just about the game but also about the story. They have a lot of depth and an immersive experience. These games make you feel like you're part of the world and your decisions matter.
All in all, it is important to find a strategy game that suits your needs and interests. We hope our comprehensive list helped you find a strategy that’ll get you hooked for hours.